HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Meals on Wheels’ Secret Santa for a Senior program brings Christmas to older Grand Strand residents who may not get to experience a traditional holiday season.
Many of those served by Meals on Wheels are alone and away from their families. Some are bedridden. They receive regular deliveries from Meals on Wheels, but this particular Santa visit is a surprise.
Meals on Wheels started the program three years ago, and each year it has grown. In its first year, 90 seniors signed up; this year, there are more than 400.
Maureen Chaffin just moved to the Grand Strand and has been a Secret Santa volunteer driver for two years. She said she loves to see the seniors’ reactions to their gifts.
“Just seeing the looks on the client’s faces when we knock on the door and they see us and we tell them who we are and where we’re from,” Chaffin said.
When Chaffin arrived at the Meals on Wheels headquarters, she got her delivery list, loaded her gift sacks into her car, and set off on her route. First stop: Bonnie’s house in North Myrtle Beach.
Bonnie is bedridden and lives alone. She attends physical therapy but says not progressing as quickly as she would like. She tries her best to keep her spirits high, but she was overwhelmed with gratitude and disbelief by the arrival of Chaffin and her goodies.
“I don’t think I deserve this,” Bonnie said, tearfully.
After Bonnie’s house, Chaffin set off to her next destination, Cynthia and Betty’s house.
Cynthia and Betty are a mother-daughter duo living together in North Myrtle Beach. Cynthia, the daughter, has had both of her legs amputated and uses a wheelchair. She was shocked to see the arrival of gifts tailored specifically to her.
“Wow, I just can’t believe it,” Cynthia said through teary eyes.
Chaffin wrapped up her delivery route and headed back to headquarters where she will continue to be a Secret Santa driver for the rest of the week.
“They don’t know we’re coming,” she said. “They don’t know what’s in these black bags. But once they see it, they’re just so thankful and so thrilled, and it just really makes your heart just explode with happiness for them.”
Drop-offs are continuing throughout the week, and all 400 of the seniors will be receiving their special Christmas deliveries.